(Makeup)

Avoid Using This Product If You're Trying To Grow Out Your Brows

Hint: Set the pencils to the side.

Kelsey Stewart

For someone who has nine tattoos and lots of piercings, I'm a bit scared of getting my eyebrows done. Part of this hesitation comes from my ultra-sensitive skin that turns bright tomato red from waxing. And, there's also the fact that I've had a few experiences where I've left the salon with way more hair removed than I had anticipated. However, just a few weeks ago, I faced my fears and got my brows shaped for the first time in three years. In addition to walking out with incredible arches, I learned about a slew of products to use when in the process of growing out your eyebrows. As it turns out, a lot of the products I've been using are preventing my brows from reaching their full potential.

I sat down in brow pro Azi Sacks' chair on a Thursday evening in January at Hawthorne Studio in New York City, and let the expert work her magic on my arches. And, from what I knew of her 20-year career, my expectations were high. Sacks got her start at 19 in Washington D.C., doing brows on K Street just a block away from the White House (she moved her business to NYC in the summer of 2020). Good word of mouth spread quickly, and by the age of 23, she had 5,000 repeat bookings a year, Sacks explains to me. Just take a peek at her IG page to see the work she's behind and you'll understand why her following keeps on growing.

You might be wondering, what makes her so sought after? Well, Sacks is known for her style of arches and the natural balance she creates, which she says always flows from front to end. "I tend to make the brow look fuller with that." Plus, a huge part of her work is focusing on her clients' brow health. The result? Fluffy, natural-looking eyebrows (see my arches below for proof). You can also find her expertise in publications like Allure, Byrdie, InStyle, Coveteur, Elite Daily, Who What Wear, and more.

OK, back to my visit. Sacks tweezed my brows, which she does for all her clients (as opposed to using other popular hair removal techniques like waxing and threading), as she believes it's the most exact, accurate way to shape eyebrows. "It's the best method to use on a brow given the skin and how thin and delicate it is in this area," she explains. While she was shaping my brows to perfection, we chatted about what products I should be applying as I'm trying to grow them out.

For starters, Sacks says there are a few ingredients and formulas to avoid. "[You should stay away from] products that contain wax, [as well as formulas] that have a strong grip, you know, whether they are waxing or really stiffening, or dry and leave your brows feeling hard," she tells me. Alternatively, the expert recommends choosing products that are infused with vitamins (such as vitamin E in castor oil), have strong emollients in them, and include peptides.

If you, too, are in the midst of growing out your brows, the following routine recommended by Sacks might be useful.

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: Soft Brush

To be honest, I've never thought too much about what brushes I'm using for my makeup. But, Sacks says choosing the right tool is important when it comes to your brows. In fact, if your brush is really firm and stiff, it'll be too harsh on the area. "I've found that clients who use certain brow brushes have all these little holes in the tails of their brow," she explains. "The brush is so stiff that when they try to put the product on, it snags the hair." Therefore, the expert suggests using a brow brush that's soft. Her go-to: Lancôme's Sourcils Gel Eye Brow Reshaper Brush.

Additionally, Sacks says the way in which you apply the brow product is huge, too. "You need to apply to brow powder in a very gentle fashion." Just like applying eye cream, she explains you should avoid rubbing or putting too much pressure on the skin. Aside from Lancôme's brush, Sacks loves the Soft Liner Fan Brush 9 from BH Cosmetics. "It's awesome for applying brow powder to create a very soft effect."

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: Powder Over Pencil

Instead of an eyebrow pencil, which Sacks notes can gradually yank the eyebrow hairs out with continued use, she says using a powder to fill in or add density is the way to go. "If you're trying to grow your brows out or preserve the hairs you have, brow powder is the product to always have in your kit." Her top pick is MAC's Single Eye shadow in Charcoal Brown, which she's been using consistently over the past 21 years (yes, it's that good). OK, it's technically an eyeshadow, but she says eyeshadow is brow powder. "This specific tone is a tone I use on every ethnicity, every hair color, on everyone, no matter how thick or thin their eyebrow is," she explains. "It completely disappears into the brow and just fills in the gaps. As the day goes on and your skin produces oil, it doesn't turn red or gray, it just stays in place and looks beautiful." (Additionally, Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Powder Duo has her stamp of approval.)

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: Brow Gel

Sacks says Chantecaille's Full Brow Perfecting Gel is the only brow gel she's seen be effective in growing out her clients' brows. For instance, one of her clients (who she's been working with for the past 21 years) in D.C. has a very thin, tiny brow. "There was a period where she was trying to grow them out, so she didn't come in for several months. Then, when she came back in, her brows had filled in." According to Sacks, her client achieved this by using castor oil and the Full Brow Perfecting Gel. However, the only thing to note is the product comes out really wet. "I recommend whipping the wand, applying it, letting the product dry, and then you fluff it and give it texture."

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: Rosebud Salve

Rosebud Salve is one of Sacks' secret weapons for achieving fluffy, gorgeous arches. "I recommend using a disposable mascara wand, taking a bit with your finger, working it onto the wand leaving only a tiny bit on the wand, and then brushing up into the brow and creating texture slowly," she says. "Or, you can use your ring finger and tap it into the pot blend with the other ring finger and apply it with [your] hand." Overall, the pro says it's her favorite thing to put on a brow. "The effect is so pretty — it gives the perfect amount of shine and hold, as well as great texture." Infused with ingredients like cotton seed oil, essential oils, and botanicals, she says the formula is great for treating the skin underneath the hair. "I find that a lot of these brow products dry the skin," she explains. "And when the skin gets dry, the hair sheds. Or, it suffocates the hair, and the hair breaks."

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: Castor & Almond Oil

Sacks puts organic castor oil on her brows every night and is a huge advocate of the product when it comes to growing out your brows. If you can, apply in the morning, as well. "The results are unbelievable," she notes. Additionally, she suggests using almond oil at night as it too is great for hair growth.

Eyebrow Products To Use When You're Growing Yours Out: VegaBROW's Volumizing Serum

When it comes to products specifically formulated for brow growth, the expert loves VegaBROW's Volumizing Serum. Made with ingredients like red clover, mung bean, and magnolia officinalis bark extract, Sacks says this serum is truly all-natural. "A lot of the other brow growth gels are great, but when you stop using them, your brows shed." However, this isn't the case with VegaBROW's iteration.